Pools for Dubai Sevens revealed
NEWS: The pools and match schedule have been announced for the Dubai Sevens on November 26-27.
The 12 team men’s competition will follow the Olympic format with three pools of four teams each, while the 10 team women’s event sees the teams divided into two pools of five.
In the men’s event Pool A includes Fiji, fresh from retaining their Olympic title in Tokyo, together with Australia, Canada and France.
Pool B sees Olympic bronze medallists Argentina play Kenya, Spain and the USA. Kenya will arrive in Dubai on good form after reaching the medal podium in both 2021 Series events, with silver in Vancouver and bronze in Edmonton. USA were beaten finalists in Dubai in 2019, when they finished the Series as runners-up.
In Pool C the 2021 Series Champions South Africa will take on Ireland, Great Britain and Japan, who were promoted as World Rugby Challenger Series champions in 2020. South Africa will be in confident mood following their perfect win record during the pair of Canada Sevens events in September.
Meanwhile due to the ongoing uncertainly surrounding the travel restrictions associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic it has been decided that the Hong Kong Sevens originally planned to take place on April 1-3 will be rescheduled to November 4-6, 2022, when it will serve as the opening event of the World Rugby Sevens Series 2023.
Hong Kong will host a second event in the 2023 Series six months later in its traditional April window, doubling the enjoyment of this popular event for fans. World Rugby is considering potential options for a replacement event in the 2022 Series and further information will be shared in due course.
The 2022 Series kicks off as the sport looks to capitalise on a highly successful and impactful Olympic Games played in front of a huge global television audience, which also generated more than 22 million video views and over 100 million social media impressions across digital platforms.
Dubai will host the opening two rounds of the 2022 Series over consecutive weekends with the first played behind closed doors and the second, on 3-4 December, open to the public with a large, noisy and enthusiastic crowd expected to fill the Sevens Stadium and bring energy and excitement to the stands.
Following the pair of combined men’s and women’s events in Dubai, the Series will move on to Europe as Spain plays host for the first time with combined men’s and women’s events in Malaga and Seville on 21-23 and 28-30 January, 2022 respectively.
The men’s Series continues with North American rounds in Vancouver on 26-27 February and Los Angeles on 5-6 March, followed by Singapore on 9-10 April.
Great Britain will participate in the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai, as part of the standing agreement to play the calendar year 2021, before reverting to compete as national unions for the remainder of the 2022 Series, with England, Scotland and Wales participating in the men’s Series and England in the women’s series.
To take account of this factor and in acknowledgement that not all teams may be able to compete in all events due to the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a unique Series points scoring system has been introduced for the 2022 Series in the interests of fairness. The system sees the best seven men’s results and four women’s results for each team contribute to their final Series standings. The number of contributing results will increase should a replacement event for Hong Kong be added.
The 16 men’s core teams after the Dubai events are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.
The 11 core women’s teams after the Dubai events are Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA.
Two men’s and one women’s teams will be relegated from the 2022 Series, to ensure a pathway for teams to be promoted from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.